Blackheath 23 - 12 Cambridge
By Adrian Fraser
An ill wind at Well Hall
Cambridge travelled to Well Hall in hope - following our previous two wins. However, as is often the case at all rugby clubs at this time of year, it was a case of selecting those left standing. On the day we only had 36 players available between the 1st and 2nd XV.
Not all the missing were injured, Tom Emery was recalled by Saints and Jack Green was coping with the birth of his daughter Eva - congratulations to Jack and his partner Sarah. We hope Eva will grow up and play for the Rubies one day.
We managed to find a full side for the 1st XV, albeit with several player starting the game carrying knocks. The 2nd XV were forced to travel with only 16 players - which would cost them dear.
Cambridge kicked off with a tricky wind blowing across the pitch, but mainly behind us. Blackheath gathered the ball, but before they could escape their 22 they knocked on. Cambridge won a penalty at the scrum and chose to kick. Ben Penfold, needed Louis Rawlings to hold the ball steady, but judged it perfectly for a 0-3 lead.
Blackheath showed they were going to be a threat when they crossed the line with the next attack - but the referee penalised them for holding on, so Cambridge had a penalty 5m out and Ben was able to kick clear.
Play continued with Cambridge using the wind to pin Club back and then capitalising on their indiscipline to win three more penalties. All of which were cleanly struck by Ben, who had obviously packed his kicking boots.
Even though Cambridge were ahead Blackheath had looked dangerous, so it was not surprising when they finally managed to score. They looked after the ball well for the rest of the half and Cambridge started to rack up penalties. Eventually Oli Petrides was shown yellow and that opened up the space for Club to add a second on the stroke of half time, both kicks went wide so Cambridge went in 10-12 up.
Cambridge were down to 14 at the start of the second half - so the first job was to not let the hosts score. They managed to do this, just. But changes in the front row, meant Blackheath were now winning the scrum penalties - and this meant we were playing deep in our half. Eventually they grabbed a third giving them a 15-12 lead after 52 minutes.
The hosts added a penalty to stretch the lead to six points with twenty minutes to play. It was still a one score match and Cambridge knew the next score was critical. Unfortunately handling errors and penalties stubbed out every attack we mounted. A losing bonus point would probably have been fair. However a last minute try from the hosts denied us.
The 2nd XV played well, but with only one substitute available, injuries left them playing with 14 for most of the match. It was a high scoring game Richmond Saxons winning 74-35. Under the circumstances a tremendous result against very strong opposition.
The 3rd XV were hosting Colchester and managed an impressive 55-7 win.
Blackheath 23 - 12 Cambridge
Penalties: Penfold (4)